June 12, 1975. Indira Gandhi was shocked after the historic decision of the Allahabad High Court. He was found guilty on Rajnarayan’s election petition. His victory from Rae Bareli was annulled. The prime minister’s chair was in danger. On the other hand, the trinity of RK Dhawan, Bansilal and Sanjay Gandhi was preparing to raise a crowd in support of Indira. Sanjay also engaged the President of Youth Congress on this task. 33-year-old Ambika Soni was rapidly increasing political stature with the help of Sanjay. The next day, preparations for a rally in support of Indira started on a Safdarjung road itself. To stamp Indira’s popularity, Ambika started preparations from the evening itself. Sanjay Gandhi had a clear instruction – whatever the judge said, the public considers Indira as their leader. Congress President Debkant Barua had spread the echo of ‘Desh ka leader kaise ho, Indira Gandhi jaisa ho’. Now it was his turn to test. Ambika got the resolution passed from the Youth Congress. Indira Gandhi is the leader of the country unopposed and there is no need for her to resign. On the other hand, the officials of the Prime Minister’s Office contacted the big transporters and the trucks were sent towards the villages. DTC buses suddenly disappeared from the roads. On the instructions of Ambika, a network of Youth Congress workers started sending these buses to the nearby areas of Delhi. RK Dhawan gave direct instructions to the Chief Ministers of Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan that all the government machinery should be engaged in the rally.
When the party broke up, Indira took Ambika along.
This was not the first time this had happened. In 1969, when Indira nationalized banks and socialist Morarji Desai strongly opposed, a similar emergency rally was organized in support of Indira. This was the year when the syndicate expelled Indira from the party. Indira formed the Congress (R). Then he got Ambika Soni included in the party. Ambika’s father Nakul Sen Wadhwa was an officer of the Indian Civil Service. He was the Collector of Amritsar at the time of partition and grew closer to Jawaharlal Nehru. In this sense, Ambika’s entry into the Gandhi family remained unabated and that close relationship continues till date. Yes, can’t say if the political outlook has changed in the last 24 hours. Well, the next day the huge public was welcoming Indira. A readymade platform was ready at Indira Awas since 1969 when Indira Gandhi announced her support to VV Giri, apart from the Congress party’s official presidential candidate Sanjiva Reddy. Indira chimed in from this stage. This is the biggest rally in the world. I am being implicated under a conspiracy. I will face every challenge. Then some people from the crowd started hooting. The slogan of Indira Gandhi resign two surprised the leaders present on the stage. Suddenly the six feet tall Ambika got off the stage and headed towards the part from where anti-Indira slogans were being raised. Ambika showered slaps on the youths she suspected. After this the security personnel reached there and the opponents were arrested. In 1976, a year after the imposition of Emergency, Indira made Ambika Soni a member of the Rajya Sabha. Even after the death of Sanjay Gandhi and the assassination of Indira, his attachment to the Gandhi family remained. She is still a member of Rajya Sabha from Punjab. Perhaps that is why when Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi forced her to resign, Ambika Soni’s thought came first as her successor. Ambika suddenly reached Rahul’s house on Saturday night. Since then there has been speculation that Ambika can be made CM to balance Navjot Singh Sidhu. But on Sunday morning Ambika Soni turned down the offer of the Gandhi family. Two things are coming out behind this. First, Ambika is in favor of making a Sikh the CM for the strength of the party. Second, Ambika Soni does not want to be the mask of the Gandhi family at the age of 79. That too for six months because the chances of Congress’s victory in the next election are not visible to the party leaders themselves.
[Attribution to NBT]